SPOKANE, Wash.—Local medical professionals and researchers are concerned with the effects marijuana has on newborn children.
Medical professionals at MultiCare Inland Northwest said research is limited, but some studies found negative effects on what ingesting marijuana while pregnant can do to newborns.
Neonatologist, Doctor Egger said what concerns him is how much is unknown about the side effects.
Egger said older studies showed there were no negative effects of marijuana on newborns, but he raised a problem with that research.
“Part of the problem with those older studies is the potency of marijuana increased fourfold from the 80’s to 2012,” said Dr. Egger.
Egger said studying the long term developmental outcomes are difficult for several reasons.
“In a lot of states those aren't legal, and in part ethically we don't think it's the right thing to do,” said Egger.
Research on infants is hard to do (illegal in many states, along w/ ethical concerns), but studies do show impacts on developing brains. pic.twitter.com/qgtapFFmND— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) October 9, 2017
An important thing to understand about marijuana is its main mind-altering agent, THC.
THC is fat soluble so it can stick around in fatty substances for long periods of time, according to Dr. Egger
“That is important for expecting and new mothers to understand, because the developing brains in babies, and breast milk can therefor harbor THC,” said Egger.
Because THC is fat soluble, it can be harbored in baby's brain & breast milk. Expectant and nursing mothers should avoid. pic.twitter.com/mi8k7I7BrC— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) October 9, 2017
Egger said the real impact marijuana use will have on newborns will be down the road.
“We aren't sure where along the way the damage can occur. We feel there is potential damage specific to marijuana with the developing brain. And so any mother that's contemplating pregnant should avoid it,” said Dr. Egger.
Egger warned any mother contemplating using marijuana while pregnant should avoid it.